A recent study culled data from Musixmatch's database of lyrics compared the vocabularies of 93 different artists and 100 top selling pop songs to determine which artist has the greatest command of the English language. According to Varun Jewalikar and Nishant Verma, who conducted the study, its aim was to gain a better understanding of the vocabularies of different artists, and not to determine who is the best lyricist.
"The aim is to compare the vocabulary size of these musicians. Some of them have released a lot more songs than the others because of the sheer longevity of their career and how prolific they are."
The study compared the lyrics of the 100 densest lyrical songs, determined by word count, and looked at the total number of words different artists had used in their careers. Unsurprisingly, 4 of the top five artists who had implemented the greatest vocabulary in their careers were rap artists. Rap god Eminem topped the list with a vocabulary of 8,818 unique words in his lyrical lexicon, beating out second place Jay Z, who has used 6,899 unique words in his career. Tupac Shakur, Kanye West and folk singer Bob Dylan filled in the rest of the top five in that order, with Dylan totaling 4,883 words in his lengthy career, while Saxophonist Kenny G found himself at the very bottom of the list.
"This analysis should not be interpreted as saying that one musician is better than the other, it is just another insight into the work of these amazing artists. It gives us a peek into the minds of different songwriters, some tear your heart with just a few words while others paint an intricate picture with a thousand words."